How Long Do I Have To Request A Hearing After Getting A Traffic Ticket?
If you receive a traffic ticket after being pulled over in Washington state, you have 15 days to respond to the ticket. If you’ve received the ticket in the mail, then you have 18 days from the date you received the ticket to respond.
You have three options for responding to the ticket.
- Pay the ticket. If you pay the ticket, you are admitting guilt and waiving your right to request a hearing. The ticket will remain on your driving record for 5 years. Your car insurance premiums will also increase for at least 3 years.
- Fight the ticket. You may request a hearing after getting a traffic ticket. Contesting your traffic ticket and winning is your only option for keeping your driving record clean and avoiding additional insurance charges.
- Admit guilt with an explanation. You may request a mitigation hearing after getting a traffic ticket where you own up to the traffic violation, but you will have a chance to explain yourself. The court may reduce your fine, allow you to set up a payment plan, and/or require you to do community service, but the ticket will still go on your driving record.
What if I Ignore the Traffic Ticket?
If you ignore the ticket, refuse to pay, or don’t request a hearing within the required timeframe, the court will add a $52 late fee to the cost of your original ticket.
In addition, the state Department of Licensing will start the process of suspending your driver’s license. Once you’ve paid your ticket in full or you’ve set up a payment plan with the court, you’ll have to pay an additional $100 in fees to the Department of Licensing to get your license back.
If the traffic ticket and the late fee remains unpaid, then the debt will go into collections and you’ll be hounded by collections calls. Plus, if you continue to drive, then you risk being ticketed for driving with a suspended license.
What are the long-term and short-term effects of having traffic violations on my driving record?
One of the main issues with having a traffic violation on your driving record is the increase in your insurance premiums.
Just one speeding ticket can increase your car insurance rates by 22 percent. Two traffic violations can result in a 34 percent increase in premiums, and drivers with three violations may see 53 percent increase in insurance rates. That means you’re spending extra thousands of dollars on car insurance for 3 years compared to drivers who have no violations.
Traffic violations may also impact your employment or “side hustle” opportunities, especially if you are among the millions who drive for Lyft, Uber, Doordash, Postmates, or other ride share or delivery service. These companies won’t hire you or let you continue working for them if you receive 3 or more tickets in 3 years. It’s simply too expensive for companies to insure drivers who have too many tickets.
The bottom line is that once you get a ticket, make sure you respond as soon as possible. The penalties and fines will continue to mount, and you’ll find yourself in a hole that’s hard to get out of.
What is a Ticket Deferral?
In Washington, you may have the option to defer your ticket, which essentially removes the ticket from your driving record if you meet the following conditions:
- You pay an administrative fee ($150)
- You attend a traffic safety course
- You avoid any traffic violations for 1 year
The deferral period is 12 months. If you fail to get another ticket anytime during the following year, the court will rescind the deferral and the ticket will go on your driving record. One way to avoid this is to request a hearing after getting a traffic ticket during your deferral period and fighting the ticket.
Should I Hire a Traffic Ticket Lawyer?
Fighting your traffic ticket can help you avoid fines, license suspension, and increased insurance premiums. If you plan to request a hearing after getting a traffic ticket, the you definitely want to have a traffic ticket lawyer by your side.
You can expect your lawyer to:
- Request a contested hearing
- Request discovery for your case
- Represent you in court
- Negotiate with the prosecutor to have your charges dropped or reduced
Remember, you have a very limited amount to deal with a traffic ticket in Washington. For more information on how to request a hearing after receiving a traffic ticket, call 253-201-2001 for a free consultation and review of your case.
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